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15.11.2016

OMBUDSPERSON’S OPINION REGARDING THE IMPACT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL VIOLENCE TOWARDS CHILDREN

Use of violence against children as well as increase of their disclosure in occasion when it is being exercised by teachers and tutors, who are vested with the power to apply pedagogical norms and careful behavior towards children, has urged the Ombudsperson to treat the impact of violence on health and social life of children and in a form of an Opinion to address it to the responsible authorities, with the intention to draw attention regarding the negative impact of violence on children and the importance of its prevention, by identifying, referring and timely treatment.

During open meetings that OI representatives have accomplished with children of lower secondary and upper secondary schools, through discussions relating to their concerns, not only within school environment, but also in families or elsewhere, majority of them have put the emphases on the psychological and physical violence, but on sexual harassment as well, which were investigated, treated and addressed by OI to relevant institutions.

Furthermore, OI has initiated ex officio investigations regarding the actions of responsible institutions for the protection of children on street situations (children involved in begging, cleaning car windows, selling different items, etc.), who face directly the risk of being abused.

Violence against children is extraordinary complex and with severe psycho-social consequences, which directly impact on the growth and development of children with direct consequences even in elderly stage of life. Violence may appear as physical and emotional/psychological abuse, negligent treatment, sexual exploitation or any other exploitation which results in the harm of the child’s health. Protection of children from violence remains a challenge of state and society, which requires close coordination and cooperation of relevant institutions, to which the following recommendations, through this Opinion, have been addressed:

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to conduct public information campaigns in order to increase awareness of society about the consequences of abuse against children, and to continuously promote non-violent methods of education and discipline; to engage psychologists and pedagogues in all schools, to support and assist children; to create appropriate systems for children, so that they may report violence and be informed about mechanisms where they can address complaints; to develop capacities of educational staff regarding the consequences of violence against children and the importance of timely identification and referral of these cases to responsible authorities.

Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare namely Centers for Social Work and Ministry of Internal affairs: In conformity with powers and legal authority and in cooperation with all other responsible institutions to undertake relevant actions to protect and assist children in need, in particular, children doing jobs that risk their health, children collecting things in containers, children selling items in streets and cafeteria, children who are begging and who may be potential victims of different forms of abuse.

Ministry of Health: To develop training programs for the staff in primary healthcare institutions, regarding the importance of timely identification and reporting of cases of abuse against children, and the legal consequences that the healthcare staff may bear in cases of failure to report them; to increase the number of mental healthcare services for children and teenagers in Kosovo, and to strengthen them via intervention programs for accomplishment of developmental needs, and early identification and treatment of cases at risk for psychiatric disorders.

Full Opinion has been distributed to media today as well as is available for the public on OI official web page http://www.ombudspersonkosovo.org/repository/docs/OPINIONI_I_AP_Efektet_psikologjike_te_dhunes_ndaj_femijeve__-15.11.2016_Eng_309360.pdf

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